Manweller’s ‘Students Protecting Students’ school safety legislation passes House committee
On Wednesday, the House Education Committee passed legislation that would use a mobile app for students to anonymously report concerns about unsafe or violent activities at school.
Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, and sponsor of House Bill 2442, said the idea behind the app is to provide students a fast, secure and anonymous method to report threatening activities.
“There are schools using variations of school safety programs. However, in researching the issue, we believe using the app may encourage more students to report an incident rather than using email or text. The app is quick and simple and would still provide the anonymity the students want,” said Manweller. “Students usually know first when something is wrong and we want a system in place that would encourage them to report any threat of activities that are unsafe, harmful or dangerous.”
The bill was amended by the committee. However, provisions of the original bill still remain. Under the bill:
- School districts would be required to report on their use of, or barriers to use of, any incident alert and reporting system to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) by May 1, 2018; and the measure requires the OSPI to report this information to the Legislature by June 1, 2018.
- OSPI is directed to contract with a vendor to: (a) make available a reporting system via a mobile application that includes specific features, for example, two-way messaging and anonymous reporting between school administrators and students; and (b) update the application as new technology is available.
- Districts would be required to submit a Students Protecting Students Program implementation plan to the OSPI if the district anticipates it would be unable to implement the program in middle and high schools in the 2019-20 school year.
Manweller has introduced school safety legislation every year since 2015.
“I am hopeful we can get a bill across the finish line this year so all the school districts are on the same page,” said Manweller. “There was another tragic school shooting in Kentucky last week. Unfortunately, they have become the norm. It is critical we get an effective and efficient system in place as soon as possible.”
The 60-day legislative session adjourns March 8.
###Washington State House Republican Communications